[itwire] The Senate Select Committee enquiring into the NBN has issued its final report calling for release of the calculations and underlying workings that were used by the lead advisor to generate the total cost estimates for building the NBN, as set out in the implementation study.
The Committee also, in its final report, says it wants "a comprehensive statement of what are or will be the alleged and predicted benefits of the government's NBN project," and wants the government to commission "a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of its NBN project, or at least in the first instance, accept Professor Henry Ergas' generous offer to conduct a cost-benefit analysis free of charge."
(Ergas told the committee at one of its public hearings that it would probably be three days work to knock out a cost-benefit analysis if he was given the underlying data that was commissioned and put to the consortium of McKinsey and KPMG that produced the implementation study.
This is something of an about face for the committee: its interim fourth report had recommended that the government abandon its NBN proposal in its current form.
That report was intended to be the committee's last word but its life was extended because the decision to release the implementation study was taken only a week before that fourth report was released.
Greens communications spokesman and committee member, Scott Ludlum, said: "It is a bit alarming to see the coalition's entire case in one sense hinging on the ability of the government or perhaps some consultants, some economists, to conduct a cost benefit analysis. I think the Coalition believes that perhaps this will provide us with a sense of certainty as to whether or not the government's proposal is going to be value for money. Of course, it will not do any such thing."
Senate NBN Committee's last word: call for cost-benefit analysis